June 30: The night before, we had discussed when we usually got up and started hiking me: hiking by 5:30-6, Drip hiking by 9, Salt-Lick &Pandora hiking by 8. The compromise? Let's shoot for 7:15.
So I slept in a little late, got up, broke down camp, ate, and filtered some water from the nearby stream. The rest of the crew came grumbling along at 7:15ish. And off we went. Around 8, I was told to go along ahead, they'd catch me later. And that's the last I saw of my hiking group.
Despite the fact that I took extra long breaks. Including an almost 2 hour long lunch break (next to a waterfall, I got water,ate, sat in a deep pool of water for a while to cool off, and read a little on the kindle while drying off. Still no Drip or Salt Lick.
That's ok. Because the scenery was spectacular! You know those movies where a spaceship crashes on another planet which sort of looks like earth, but the colors are more vibrant and the flowers are bigger and the grass is brighter and the mountains are craggier and bigger and look like a painting? It was like that. And when I caught up with Rock Star and Sparkle later in the day, the funny thing is- they said "Doesn't it feel like a different planet?" Yes. Yes it does.
In the afternoon, I came across Tequilla Jack, who was southbounding. TJ hikes in 2011 and had a pretty popular blog- now he gathers pictures from hikers every year and puts together a little film. He gave me his card with his email to send files. Then he gave me some updates- Wallaby was about 5 days ahead, Silver about 4, Velcro about 2 days ahead. He has not seen One ofUs or Fainting Goat. He also said that this particular stretch of trail was his favorite area and he'd been back to hike it every year.
About 2 miles later, I stopped again to eat and get water and Skyline came up and joined me. "Oh, yeah- you passed me a while back. I was just waking up from a nap." This guy and his naps! We decided to hike along and camp together.
It's a great day when you get that mix of alone time, meeting new people, and hanging with your friends! Even when the camping spot you settle in is infested with ravenous mosquitoes!
Peace, love, and trail Magic!